Make beautifully crispy golden brown fried chicken legs in the air fryer, tenderized and flavored in a homemade lemon and garlic marinade!
Enjoy maximum flavor in your crispy drumsticks; fried the healthy way!
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The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
- Chicken Legs - I’ve used 4 chicken drumsticks for this recipe, but you could use 6-7 chicken wings or 4 thighs instead. Whatever cut of chicken you choose, for best flavor and texture please always opt (if possible) for high-quality organic chicken with no antibiotics.
- Marinade - I’ve made my own marinade from scratch, but you could use a store-bought lemon-garlic marinade for added convenience. Oregano combines with the lemon garlic in the marinade beautifully, but any dried or fresh rosemary, basil, or thyme will work! Since you need to marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, this air fryer chicken legs recipe is great as a make-ahead family favorite.
Make the marinade. In a small bowl mix lemon zest, olive oil, oregano, lemon juice, onion powder, black pepper, salt, garlic, brown sugar. For very intense garlicky flavor use 4 garlic cloves.
Blot the chicken legs with a paper towel.
In a large bowl (or you can use a zip lock bag for this) massage the chicken legs with the marinade and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes or 1-2 hours if you have more time.
Once the air fryer is preheated, place the chicken into the basket and air fry for 10 minutes (discard the leftover marinade or reheat in a pan until gently simmering to drizzle on top when serving), and flip the juicy chicken legs for the last 10 minutes.
Total air frying time 20 minutes. Chicken should be darkened, browned and quite crisp on the outside.
You can garnish with extra lemon zest, lemon slices/wedges and fresh oregano or parsley.
Enjoy your crispy chicken legs with your favorite dipping sauce such as BBQ sauce or buffalo sauce.
- If you don’t have an air fryer, you can still fry your full chicken legs in a pan with enough oil to cover the chicken or bake them at 350 degrees F in the oven for an additional cook time of 25 minutes.
- You don’t need to spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray or brush it with olive oil, but it is an option, especially since it helps to prevent the chicken from sticking to the basket. Otherwise, air fryer basket liners are great options to extend the life of your air fryer basket. You could also use parchment paper, cut to fit the size of your basket, and poked with holes for good hot air circulation.
- Allow a good amount of space between the chicken legs in the air fryer basket so the chicken can get a beautiful crispy exterior. If you decide to double the number of chicken legs, you will likely need to cook them in batches.
- Leftover stored air fryer chicken legs can be reheated the same day in the air fryer at 375F for 5 minutes.
- Flipping the chicken legs halfway through the air frying time will ensure a beautiful crispy crunch on all sides of the legs.
- For a spicy air fryer chicken drumsticks recipe, add cayenne pepper, chili powder, or hot sauce to the marinade.
I like to serve these air fryer chicken legs with simple garnishes such as mashed potatoes, cauliflower, steamed veggies (broccoli and green beans especially good), or a side salad.
Freezing And Storing Instructions
Storing. Store the cooked air fryer chicken legs in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days. For the best flavor cook as much as you’ll eat in one go.
Reheat leftover chicken drumsticks in the oven, covered with aluminum foil, to prevent them from drying out. About 300 degrees until warmed through.
Freezing. If you need to freeze the chicken legs it is best you freeze them uncooked.
Make ahead. Rub the chicken with seasonings and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. On the day of cooking follow the instructions in this recipe.
Once the air fryer is preheated, add the marinated chicken parts to the air fryer basket and cook at 375F for 20 minutes, flipping the legs over after the first 10 minutes.
The chicken legs need to be spaced out on the air fryer basket in a single layer to receive adequate air circulation for maximum crisping on the chicken skin and an even cook. Stacking the chicken drumsticks will result in the meat steaming and cooking unevenly. You are unlikely to achieve crispy skin on the chicken legs when stacked.
You can check that the chicken legs are cooked properly by piercing the meat with a knife down to the bone. The juices spilling out from the leg should run clear. Otherwise, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken legs. The internal temperature should register at 165 degrees F for the chicken to be completely cooked.
Absolutely! Frying chicken in an air fryer eliminates any deep frying with oil which is always the healthier alternative. The air fryer is great not just for making juicy chicken drumsticks but you can also make air fryer chicken breast, air fryer chicken wings, air fryer chicken thighs, and other air fryer chicken recipes that the whole family will love!
Easy Air Fryer Recipes
The air fryer has become my new favorite way of enjoying food, in particular veggies. The cooking time is reduced in half, the texture crispy and flavor incredible. I use my Cosori a lot!
Want to explore more air fryer recipes? Please visit my Air Fryer recipe index right here.
Easy Chicken Recipes
You can find ALL MY CHICKEN recipes here.
I hope you'll enjoy this air fryer chicken legs recipe, please leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo of your food and tag me on Instagram @theyummy_bowl. I love seeing your creations!
Thank you for reading,
Air Fryer Chicken Legs With Lemon Garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large garlic clove if garlic is not strong enough, use 3 or even 4 cloves I used 2 quite large ones
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon Black pepper or to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large lemon juiced
- Lemon zest from one larger lemon
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1-2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 4 pieces Chicken Legs (drumsticks) or sub with 6-7 chicken wings, or 4 thighs
- Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
- In a large bowl (or you can use a zip lock bag for this) massage the chicken legs withthe marinade and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes or 1-2 hours if you have more time.
- Preheat air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit according to manufacturer instructions. (Mine was 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes) Cosori 5.8 quart
- Once the air fryer is preheated, transfer the chicken into the basket and air fry for 10 minutes (discard the leftover marinade or reheat in a pan until gently simmering to drizzle on top when serving), and flip the chicken for the last 10 minutes. Total air frying time 20 minutes. Chicken should be darkened, browned and very crisp on the outside.
- You can garnish with extra lemon zest, lemon slices/wedges and fresh oregano or parsley.
- Enjoy with dipping sauces.